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Category: Simon Beaufoy

Golden Globes 2011 nominations: Simon Beaufoy on writing '127 Hours'

Beaufoy 
Working again with Danny Boyle, his "Slumdog Millionaire" cohort, Simon Beaufoy should know how to live the high life -- given the number of awards that little movie swept through a couple years ago. But, it seems, Beaufoy's not yet ready to act like a big shot. So, where was he when he learned that their latest film together, "127 Hours," had pulled in a few Golden Globes nominations, including one for screenplay?

"Iím in Oxford. I was in bed when I heard about the nomination. I can remember when I found out that I had been nominated for ďThe Full Monty,Ē I was clearing cat sick off the floor. I really must get a more glamorous life one of these days! But Iím afraid that will never happen."

The big fear among award watchers for this movie was that audiences (and hence, voters) wouldn't be able to handle the scene in which lead actor James Franco, playing real-life hiker Aron Ralston, must sever his arm to free himself from the boulder that has pinned him in a canyon. A fear, it turns out, that never crossed Beaufoy's or Boyle's minds.

"The funny thing is, it never occurred to us to worry about that particular thing. Itís because itís the one thing that every single person in the cinema knows is going to happen. Our worry was: How on Earth are we going to give the story momentum when the guyís not moving? How are we going to make them forget what they know happens? The bit thatís caused all the controversy, we didnít worry about at all.

"127 Hours" is just one of many films that are based on real people and events this awards season. But Beaufoy doesn't think it's just voters looking to these kinds of stories, it's the public in general.

"In the midst of global recession," he said, "in the face of uncertainty about whatís going to happen next, film looks for inspiration to real people. And not just our film. This story has been a huge inspiration to me and a lot of people. Itís about never giving up, giving back to people. That people will somehow pull you through. In times of trial, for inspiration, people want to look to real people rather than to fiction."

--Chris Lee

Simon Beaufoy photo by Genaro Molino / Los Angeles Times

 


Golden Globes nominations: Danny Boyle on '127 Hours'

Danny Boyle 
Danny Boyle is a busy man but never too busy to be humble. He's currently in London rehearsing the stage production of "Frankenstein" at the National Theatre, where, on a lunch break Tuesday, he was told of his Golden Globe nomination, with Simon Beaufoy, for the "127 Hours" screenplay, as well as the nods the film received for best score, by A.R. Rahman, and lead actor, James Franco, who plays hiker Aron Ralston, who was pinned by a boulder in a canyon for days.

"Itís very, very cool. Iím very pleased. Especially for James," Boyle said. "I think itís an extraordinary performance. Without the right actor, youíre dead. It doesnít matter what else youíve got in the film; the cameraís on him the whole time. Heís insane like that. An actor always has that instinct to want to be looked at. God bless him for wanting to tackle a role like this, though."

The film, difficult to watch in parts, particularly as Ralston decides he must cut off his trapped arm to free himself before he dies of dehydration or exposure. Some audience members have been known to faint at the graphic scene. But apparently, it wasn't too tough on members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.

"That has been the best thing. This is the best-reviewed film Iíve had in my career. I donít really measure it. But I was pretty astonished. Itís lovely. You hope more and more people will see it for Jamesí performance alone, that this additional publicity will get it over the hurdle of what people think itíll do to them. It rewards you in quite a deep way. Itís not a cheap thrill."

The film, adapted from Ralston's own book about his life and his ordeal in Utah, took some liberties with the tale. But the drama itself had played out on news pages across the country when Ralston was first rescued. How do you present a movie as something fresh when people already know the story?

Boyle said he didn't see it as a challenge. "I never saw it like that. I saw built-in momentum. Thereís a momentum that Aron has -- he never gives up. He had moments of terrible despondency. When he knows nothing good is going to happen, and he keeps trying. Itís an emotional journey. He changes as a guy, according to the people that he casually left behind.

"I never thought of it as a film about climbing and surviving. Itís something a lot of blokes would recognize. In adversity, you recognize whatís important. You want to rectify things, to get back to people. A lot of blokes are guilty of that. It was really personal to us in a strange way."

-- Chris Lee

Photo: Danny Boyle. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

 

 


James Franco and Simon Beaufoy on making '127 Hours'

"Between a Rock and a Hard Place" is the name Aron Ralston gave his memoir, the account of how he amputated his forearm in a hiking accident that director Danny Boyle has turned into "127 Hours." But the book's title also describes the challenge in making the movie ó how do you create suspense when everyone knows how the story ends?

At a recent screening of "127 Hours" for The Envelope Screening Series, actor James Franco (who plays Ralston) and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (who co-wrote the film with Boyle) described some of the tricks they used in making the film and how critical Ralston's own videos were in the filmmaking process. Franco also describes how Boyle encouraged the actor to try to escape from the boulder pinning his arm, knowing Franco would get beaten up in the process.

ó John Horn

Related:

Behind the scenes with the 'Toy Story 3' filmmakers



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